Study Tours 2019 - Archive - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Study Tours 2019 – Archive

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Study Tours 2019 - Archive


Art history short courses, lectures and tours 2019

Study Tours 2019 – Archive


For further details please contact us on:

+44 (0)20 3 9477 650

Short Courses
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House
London WC2R 0RN

You can also stay in touch with us on The Courtauld Gallery and Institute Facebook pages, and also on Twitter @CourtauldGall and @CourtauldNews using the hashtag #AHShortCourses.

Archive of 2019 Courses

Please note:  the 2020 Programme will be available to view from early December.  Precise details will follow nearer the time.


Our Study Tours offer the opportunity to spend time with an expert art historian and like-minded enthusiasts looking at works of art and architecture in their original settings.  In their choices of themes and locations they derive directly from our tutors’ current research interests, and tours take in relevant exhibitions in situ or incorporate sites and monuments off the beaten track and sometimes those not usually accessible to the public.  In 2019, we offer explorations of

• French and Francophile avant-garde art (Paris)
• British medieval art and architecture (West Country Gothic)
• Global Islamic treasures in an enchanting Scandinavian setting (Copenhagen)
• Renaissance Tuscany (Lucca, Florence)
• Modern art in Germany (Munich)

Our tutors provide first-rate scholarly content and an in-depth familiarity with their chosen destinations, while our small group sizes foster a climate of friendly sociability and intellectual exchange.  Learning about the wider historical background to a particular artistic theme is not always easy in busy, often urban, surroundings and we have therefore added an element of contextualisation since 2018.  This may take the form of relevant preliminary reading material on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), of a seminar at The Courtauld, or, where possible, of a class-room session at a tour’s main destination.  It may be possible to film the Courtauld seminars for the VLE, for those who cannot come to the Institute in person.

All tours (except the Copenhagen tour) start in the morning of the first day, usually between 9.00 and 10.00, and end by around 16.00 on the final day.  It is therefore advised that you arrive on the day before the tour starts.

Tour fees remain as they were last year: £275 for two-day tours and £410 for three-day tours.

The tour fee includes expert tuition, contextual material on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), or presented at The Institute or on location, entry to all museum and sites, and transport between destinations in the case of tours that visit more than one town or city.  It does not include travel to and from the city/main destination of the tour, or accommodation: students are free to make their own arrangements. Study Tours are limited to a maximum of 12 students.

Most Study Tours include a good deal of walking and require a reasonable degree of physical fitness and mobility.  Please contact us if you have any doubts over your suitability to take part in any of the tours.

Tuesday 7 – Thursday 9 May 2019
Dr Geoffrey Nuttall

This course is now full.

For over 250 years, merchants from the small Tuscan city of Lucca dominated the production and sale of the luxury silks so coveted by the ruling houses of Europe. Their wealth made Lucca one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and it remains one of the best preserved (and pedestrian friendly). This tour focuses on their artistic legacy and innovative patronage, including masterpieces by the great Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia, the wonderful cathedral of Saint Martin, the monumental palaces of the Guinigi, the treasure house that is the church of San Frediano, and the impressive collections of the Museo Nazionale and the Opera del Duomo. We shall also visit the nearby Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, Lucca’s cultural and political rival. In studying the history of the city and its art, we shall consider how Lucca’s relationship with Pisa and other Tuscan cities, and its merchants’ wide cultural horizons influenced its sophisticated patronage. We shall question established art historical labels, such as ‘International Gothic’ and ‘Renaissance’, traditional histories of art with their Florentine-centric approaches, and look at the relationship between artistic centres and peripheries with fresh eyes.

N.B. You may also be interested in Dr Nuttall’s Summer School course on the significance of Lucchese silk merchants, from 8 – 12 July.

Dr Geoffrey Nuttall is Associate Lecturer at The Courtauld, teaches at the Victoria & Albert Museum and is an experienced study tour leader.  His doctorate from The Courtauld investigated Lucchese patronage across Europe between 1370 and 1430.  He has published articles and book chapters about Lucca and is currently preparing his thesis for publication. He has been a fellow at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California and a scholar in residence at the Dutch Institute in Florence (2017).

Wednesday 22 – Thursday 23 May 2019
Dr Natalia Murray

This study trip will explore the fascinating interplay that existed between French and Russian art in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Although modern French art was undoubtedly a touchstone throughout the period, the variety of ways in which so many Russian artists, both men and women, succeeded in fusing it with the extraordinary wealth of their own cultural heritage, resulted in a wonderful flowering which changed the course of modern art. In the course of our trip we shall examine the influence of French art on artists who fell under its spell in Russia and Russian artists who worked together in the famous artists’ studio ‘La Ruche’ or studied at the Académie Julian or Marie Vassilieff Russian Art Academy in Paris. The highlights of our trip will include a guided tour by the grandson of Sergei Shchukin, André-Marc Delocque-Fourcaud, around Russian Paris; a visit to ‘La Ruche’ where Chagall created many of his masterpieces; a chance to see the magnificent collection of Samuel Courtauld in its entirety at the Louis Vuitton Foundation; and a curator’s tour around the exhibition Red in Russian Art which will take place at the Grand Palais.

N.B. Dr Murray will also teach a Summer School course on Russian late nineteenth-century and avant-garde art, from 29 July – 2 August.

Dr Natalia Murray is an alumna of the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg and of the Hermitage Museum (PhD) and obtained another PhD from The Courtauld, where she is Associate Lecturer in modern Russian art.  Natalia also curates international exhibitions of Russian art, most recently Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 at the Royal Academy in London (2017).  She is currently working on an exhibition on Malevich and Kandinsky in Paris. Natalia’s latest book, Art for the Workers: Proletarian Art and Festive Decorations of Petrograd 1917-1921 was published in May 2018 and the Russian translation of her biography of Nikolay Punin was published in October 2018 in Moscow.

Friday 24 – Sunday 26 May 2019
Dr Scott Nethersole

The domestic arts of Renaissance Florence have fascinated scholars and collectors ever since the birth of art history as a modern discipline in nineteenth-century Germany.  Collectors were drawn to the customs, and often the costumes, that they could see in panels cut out of wedding chests, while scholars have found the objects associated with rituals around birth and marriage engaging, both aesthetically and sociologically. This study trip will explore the smaller museums and collections of Florence, examining the buildings for which these objects were created, as well as paying attention to the revival of interest in them in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  We shall discuss and analyse the ‘museumification’ of the Florentine home from the seventeenth-century decoration of the casa Buonarroti to the creation of the Horne Museum and of Palazzo Davanzati in the twentieth century.  As the home was integrated into the urban fabric of the city, we will also study its relationship to local parish churches, family chapels and the festival culture of Florence.  Visits are planned to the Museo Bardini and the Casa Martelli, among many other sites.

Dr Scott Nethersole is Senior Lecturer in Italian Renaissance Art at The Courtauld, where he obtained his PhD and where he has lectured since 2010.  He curated the exhibition Devotion by Design; Italian Altarpieces before 1500 at the National Gallery in 2011.  Scott’s book Art and Violence in Early Renaissance Florence was published by Yale University Press in 2018, and his new book The Art of Renaissance Florence will be published in January 2019.  His research interests have focused on the style and materials of sculpture, and on art destined for the home, in the Renaissance as well as in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Monday 17 – Wednesday 19 June 2019
Dr Tom Nickson


During this three-day tour we shall visit some of the most exciting and inventive architecture in gothic England, basing ourselves in the riverside market town of Tewkesbury. We begin in the thriving medieval port of Bristol, where the parish church of St Mary Redcliffe was built in the fourteenth century on a vast scale and with a stunning porch of unusual design. We then move to St Augustine’s, Bristol, now the city’s Cathedral and celebrated by Pevsner for its spatial complexity and ingenuity. A short coach journey takes us to Tewkesbury, where we can admire the Abbey’s fabulous fourteenth-century stained glass and Despenser tombs, all covered by a magnificent Decorated vault. And then there is Gloucester, with its monumental Romanesque nave and the extraordinary transepts, choir and Lady Chapel – long recognised as the earliest (and possibly the best) example of fully fledged Perpendicular architecture. There we shall also see the cloister, with its individual pews for scribes, and the tomb of Edward II, one of the finest examples of microarchitecture anywhere in gothic Europe. The tour ends with Worcester cathedral, a magnificent riot of polished Purbeck.

Dr Tom Nickson studied at Cambridge and The Courtauld and taught at the University of York before returning to The Courtauld as a lecturer in medieval art and architecture in 2012. Tom teaches widely and has led numerous trips for The Courtauld and for Martin Randall Travel.  He has published extensively on gothic and Islamic art and architecture in medieval Spain, but retains a strong interest in gothic England, and is closely involved in the forthcoming exhibition on Thomas Becket at the British Museum in 2020.

Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 July 2019
Dr Sussan Babaie

Denmark’s beautiful capital Copenhagen has one of the world’s best collections of Islamic arts, the C.L. David Foundation and Collection. Its core objects were acquired by the prominent lawyer Christian Ludvig David and made accessible to the public from 1948. Since the 1960s, many significant additions were made to the Islamic collections, which now span the period from the seventh to the nineteenth centuries and offer a comprehensive representation of the arts of the entire classical Islamic world, from Spain to the Indian sub-continent.  Under one roof, the collection enables the close study of all relevant artistic media, from ceramics to textiles, painted miniatures and metalwork.  Having first attempted a definition of what we mean by the term ‘Islamic arts’, and having introduced important aspects such as the significance of the Quran, the cultures of the book (including painted manuscripts), and the production of luxury objects for urban and courtly elites, we shall focus in detail on the important, and often misunderstood, tradition of figural representation in Islamic arts, which will be discussed in its cultural contexts, whether religious or secular. Extended visits to the collections will be framed by contextual sessions in a seminar room generously put at our disposal by the David Collection.

N.B. This is a two-day tour over three days, for logistical reasons to do with connections between Copenhagen and London.  We shall meet at 14.00 on 11 July and end at 17.00 on that day, allowing you to arrive that morning, or giving you free time to explore the David Collections and/or Copenhagen and its landmarks.  On 13 July, the tour will end at 13.00 to enable students to return to the UK in the afternoon, if they so wish.

Dr Sussan Babaie is Reader in the Arts of Iran and Islam at The Courtauld. She has taught widely including at the University of Michigan and the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. She is the author of Persian Kingship and Architecture: Strategies of Power in Iran from the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis (2014), Shirin Neshat (2013), Isfahan and Its Palaces: Statecraft, Shi‘ism and the Architecture of Conviviality in Early Modern Iran (2008), Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran (2004), Persian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1989), and of numerous articles.

Tuesday 10 – Thursday 12 September 2019
Dr Niccola Shearman


After 1900, the city of Munich rivalled Paris as a cosmopolitan hub of experiment. Here it was that Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Gabriele Mϋnter and others developed an emotional expressionism, putting colour and form at the service of an ‘inner necessity’. This tour begins in the galleries of the Lenbachhaus: preserving the original interiors of late-nineteenth-century aesthetes, its celebrated collection of Blaue Reiter works presents the unfolding path towards abstract painting. The twentieth-century displays of the Pinakothek der Moderne complete the wider picture, from core Expressionists through the sober gaze of New Objectivity, to Nazi iconoclasm and its riposte in selected works post-1945. Pursuing the Expressionists’ embrace of ‘authenticity’ in art and life, we shall take a trip to the stunning Buchheim museum of Brϋcke paintings housed on the shores of Lake Starnberg.  In contrast to the colourful history at the cradle of German modernism, the tour concludes by reflecting on events that led to Munich becoming the grave of so much potential energy. A visit to the Haus der Kunst – fascist temple to ‘Great German Art’ opened in 1938 as the vitriolic ‘Degenerate Art’ exhibition was staged nearby – will take us past architectural relics of Hitler’s sinister manipulation of culture.

NB. You may also be interested in Dr Shearman’s exploration of the art of Weimar Germany in week 2 of Summer School, 15 – 19 July.

Dr Niccola Shearman is Associate Lecturer at The Courtauld. With a background in German studies and teaching, she completed a PhD on the modernist art of woodcut in Weimar Germany in 2017 at The Courtauld. Teaching in the field of German and Austrian art of the early twentieth-century, her research interests also include the psychology of vision, especially the work of Gestalt scientists in 1920s Berlin. She has published articles on the subject of German printmaking and on the art of Oskar Kokoschka.

Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 June 2020 [Please note, dates revised]
Dr Caroline Levitt
Booking for this tour will open in December 2019

The timetable of next year’s Cannes Film Festival has recently been released and it turns out to coincide with the dates previously ear-marked for this tour.   The Festival will put enormously strain on accommodation in the wider region and on local transport infrastructure, and we have therefore decided to change the dates of our tour to 11-13 June 2020.

A preview for those of you who like to plan early: Our popular study tour UNDER THE SUN: MODERN ARTISTS ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA, led by Dr Caroline Levitt, will run again in 2020, from Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 June 2020. Booking for this tour will open in December 2019.

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